Ever wonder what the chances are that an average American will die from an opioid overdose? What if we told you they were higher than being killed in a car crash? Or by any other accidental death, for that matter. If that doesn’t set off some alarms across the country, we’re not quite sure what will.
The truth of the matter is that opioids are now a leading cause of premature death among U.S. citizens. And this comes straight from The National Safety Council. According to their most recent research, Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of fatally overdosing on painkillers. For comparison, the odds of dying in a car accident are 1 in 103.
Several spokespeople from the Council talked to the news this week about these disturbing findings. Ken Kolosh, manager of their statistics division, called it a national tragedy, particularly because this crisis is striking people down in the prime of their lives. He also believed that stronger, deadlier strains of the drug (such as fentanyl) were to blame for the latest percentages.
“The nation’s opioid crisis is fueling the Council’s grim probabilities, and that crisis is worsening with an influx of illicit fentanyl,” Kolosh said in a statement. “It is impacting our workforce, it is impacting our fathers and mothers who are still raising their children. It is going after Americans at the core of their life, with greater financial and emotional ramifications than deaths of those in their later years.”
Other leading fatalities to come out of the study were heart disease (1 in every 6 people) and cancer (1 in every 7 people), but often times those strike people later in life and aren’t as preventable. Another interesting accidental cause of death is falling, which came in at 1 in every 114 people. Interestingly, addiction played in a role in that number as well; with accidental intoxicated falls being common within the sect.
The other caveat is that opioid deaths are often misrepresented. As awful as those latest stats may be, they could be off by as much as 35 percent. The Council openly admitted that many overdoses go unreported, meaning many more are dying than the researchers even realize.
Obviously this is a very serious problem and one that has continued to get worse over the decade. If you or someone you care about is struggling with an opioid addiction, please reach out for help before they become another sad statistic.